Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Best Parenting Advice I Ever Received...

... Came from a youth minister’s course to run a program called Student Focus. I took the course in Melbourne in February 2006 with a colleague, learning the following truth:

With children, “ALWAYS follow through with what you say and NEVER get angry.”

Following through with what we say we’ll do

They say that on average, on the ninth whinge a child wears down a parent whilst shopping to provide that treat they’re after. If we’ve said ‘no’ on the previous eight occasions, why would we compromise on the ninth? Yet every parent knows what it’s like to be found in a ‘weak moment’!

Getting this right requires a calm, wilful mind. But, it can’t be done successfully without the next bit of the equation.

Never getting angry

Like the above advice, most parents will view this nugget with great scepticism, after all, how would we contain our emotions with our children all the time?

It is achievable, however. When we realise that getting angry either plays into the hands of the kids OR it scares them, we are motivated to maintain a healthy level of ‘adult’ control.[1]

Putting these two together

Both of these things are both easy and difficult to achieve. Think about it. Our mental approach to children is all important. In other words it’s our will that’s most put to the test.

If we can be disciplined enough to do what we say we’ll do and at the same time not get angry, we’ll achieve a mark of influence over our progeny that not only gives us confidence, it will give the kids a confidence too--they really want and need their parents to be ‘adult’ (see endnote [1] for the description) in the approach to parenting. Kids need healthy, well-defined boundaries.

What I found with this advice was that it worked with all children. As I continued to reflect on it over the weeks and months, and now years, implementing it as I went, it served me consistently well--not only with my own children but in also leading others’ children.

Using this advice, which anyone can implement, is the best way to achieve a healthy respect from the children we’re placed in charge of. Children truly love the reliability of ‘adult’ leadership, and it is a great assertiveness model for them in how to deal with people in general.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[1] “Adult” behaviour according to the transactional analysis model is unemotional in conflict i.e. reasonable, rational, realistic, responsible and logical.

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